Toward the end of each year and the beginning of the next, I often ask God for a word, a single word to frame the year ahead. A few years ago, the word was “abide,” and I spent the entire year in John 15. I loved this word. It opened for me a year that was deep and rich and full of rest. This year, the word is “trust,” and it comes with a sense of waiting. Patient waiting. Trusting for the unseen. I am not a fan of this word. At least not yet.
This word comes with a sense of foreboding for me, and I wonder why. I wonder what in my image of God makes this word, “trust,” heavy for me. So much of how I see God and experience his love for me has changed for the better and brighter through years of healing. And yet, with this word, “trust,” I’m aware there is still something dimming Love’s image.
As I sit in the quiet, asking the questions of When Faith Becomes Sight in Chapter 6, “The Face of God,” waiting to see what rises, I begin to feel disappointment. A sadness connected to watching my dearly loved ones struggle with anxiety and depression. I have been praying for years now, waiting, watching for a greater measure of freedom for them both. Seeing glimmers of hope over time. But it has felt like a very long time. And this time has taken a toll on trust.
From Chapter 6, “….we have many unscripted and unconscious notions about God. And it’s these—not our creeds and confessions—that largely control how we relate to God and others, and live out the implications.” How I see the face of God—the expression on his face, the look in his eyes—is how I see everything. And my seeing has been darkened by the disappointment.
Now conscious of my turning, I consider the way back to trust. And I ready myself for the tussle. Because this trust requires honesty. It requires that I look straight into what is real today and pray. Not a flowery prayer that defies reality, but raw, visceral prayers of lament. That cry out for encounter. And in this place of prayer — talking, crying, listening, thanking, releasing — God’s goodness becomes rooted in me again. Because I begin to remember his character, his faithfulness. And I begin to see his face more clearly, the expression of love and kind knowing. In this place, in the light of Love’s face, I can rest. I can wait. I can trust.
Susan Carson is an author, speaker, podcaster, and pray-er. She is founder and director of Roots&Branches network, a listening and healing prayer ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio. Susan’s book rooted (IN): Thriving in Connection with God, Yourself, and Others, and her podcast, rooted (IN)ten-tionally, offer principles and spiritual practices for living more deeply rooted in love for God, yourself, and others. Find out more at www.susancarson.net.